This increase has been a small victory heralded by the financial press, to include in a recent CBS News article titled "Gift-tax limits to rise in 2013."
Now, the extra $1,000 may not sound like much if you haven't been making full use of your gift limits. Nevertheless, when it comes to tax advantaged wealth transfers, every little bit helps.
In fact, annual giving to loved ones is a time-honored tradition and strategy. Every portion of your estate given life removes that much from coming under the estate tax scythe at your death. Remember: beginning in 2013 you can transfer $14,000 per year per person, to as many persons as you see fit, without reducing your lifetime exclusion (currently $5.12 million, but we'll see what comes of that in 2013!).
In addition, these gifts don't count as charitable gifts either, which are without limit and can provide significant tax deductions when done correctly. If you are looking for even more ways to maximize your wealth transfers through gifting, then consult the original article. For example, two very specific and useful suggestions are to make gifts to cover educational costs (i.e., tuition) or medical costs. Note: To qualify, such "gifts" must be paid directly to the educational or medical institution.
Gifting such a powerful wealth transfer method and any small victory (even a $1,000 increase in the annual gift exclusion) is worthy of attention and consideration.
Reference: CBS News (October 10, 2012) "Gift-tax limits to rise in 2013"