$13,000 is the amount that any one donor can give to any one donee in 2012 without having to file a federal estate tax return (form 709) and without having to use up
any of the donor’s combined during life and at death exemption ($5,120,000 for persons dying in 2012).
The annual exclusion will increase to $14,000 for lifetime gifts made in 2013 by any one donor to any one donee. Some of these gifts can be outright gifts such as cash, stock, or they can be an interest in real estate or in a limited liability company. Some of these gifts can be made into an irrevocable trust where the donee is given a power (sometimes called a Crummey Power) to withdraw contributions in order to qualify the contributions for the gift tax annual exclusion.
So for example, if a husband and wife have 3 children, the maximum that their gift tax annual exclusions could cover in 2012 would be $13,000 x 2 donors x 3 donees or $78,000. For 2013 the maximum will be $14,000 x 2 donors x 3 donees or $84,000