"Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister In so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."
For example, one way to keep money out of your estate is the annual gift tax exclusion. You can give $13,000 per person, per year ($26,000 if you combine your spouse’s exclusion) without having to pay a gift tax. This is one way you can avoid the estate tax without even having to die (most people prefer this).
People like to talk about how high taxes used to be. For instance in the 1950’s the highest marginal income tax rate was above 90%. However, what they don’t say is that very few people paid this tax rate (thanks to numerous loopholes under the tax code). The same is true for the estate tax. With careful planning (and some good advice) the estate tax can be avoided. Like Judge Learned Hand said it isn’t your patriotic duty to pay the Feds. any more than required.