Mela Garber

Tax Principal, Tax Leader of Anchin Private Client

Mela Garber, CDFA, is a tax principal at Anchin. She is the Tax Leader of Anchin Private Client, as well as Leader of its Trust & Estates Services and Matrimonial Advisory Groups.

She has extensive experience handling all aspects of taxation and planning for high net worth families, their trusts and estates.

In trust and estate administration, Mela works closely with trustees and executors, guiding them through complex tax laws and advising them on creative funding of bequests and tax efficient ways of distributing the assets. In the estate planning area, Mela utilizes sophisticated tools to ensure maximum savings for her clients. Mela also helps them with their philanthropic goals, establishing family foundations and structuring gifting programs. She also develops tax strategies for her clients with substantial art holdings to minimize their tax liabilities.

Mela assists clients in matrimonial issues working with divorcees and works closely with widows. Utilizing a holistic approach, Mela helps women navigate through their new financial lives. Mela creates cash budgeting programs, helps to educate her clients on financial independence, provides proactive tax planning and works in conjunction with money managers/financial advisors, attorneys and other advisors to help create the best advisory team possible.

Over the past 25 years, Mela also has gained valuable experience handling tax and gift audits with the Internal Revenue Service and produces favorable results for her clients. Mela has significant experience providing support in Trust & Estates litigation and preparation of judicial accountings.

In 2012, Mela was featured in The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom, A Woman’s Guide to Enjoying Wealth and Power, a book where she contributed her knowledge on a variety of matrimonial topics. In addition, she often presents before law firms on topics of planning to minimize or avoid income taxes on trusts.

Mela is a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA), the Estate Planning Council of New York City Inc. and the Association of Divorce Financial Planners. She is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CFDA) by The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. Mela is often quoted by the press, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and Private Wealth Magazine. She is a frequent panelist, speaker and author on issues related to tax planning issues for women. Mela has also served as a lecturer at the Practicing Law Institute Conference.

In addition to English, Mela is fluent in Russian.

  • Art
  • Matrimonial Advisory
  • Private Client
  • Tax Planning and Compliance
  • Trusts and Estates


  • What Happens When the Owner of a Pet Dies? Help Ensure Their Future Lives by Adding Them to Your Estate Plan!March 31, 2021

    If you are creating an estate plan, you might be overlooking one important family member: your pet! While pets might not show typical human emotional behavior, changes in routine and the absence of an owner’s presence will be evident to them.

  • Five Financial Steps for the “Suddenly Single”February 24, 2021

    Becoming “suddenly single” due to divorce or death of a spouse is challenging both emotionally and financially. This is true in any environment, but it is even more so during a pandemic when there is already so much uncertainty.

  • Anchin's Year End Trusts & Estates SeriesDecember 17, 2020

    This series provides insights on how estate and trust planners may capitalize on the market’s historically low interest rates, and how high net-worth families could take advantage of trust and estate planning strategies before the new administration takes office in January.

  • Two Easy Ways to Use Low Interest Rates in Your Estate PlanNovember 24, 2020

    Current estate planning has focused on utilizing a taxpayer’s historically large lifetime exemption because this amount is slated to decrease under the current law in a few years (and possibly sooner by government action). When the exemption has already been used, here are two more planning techniques that will also help the taxpayer benefit from the unusually low interest rate environment.

  • Preserving Your Family Legacy with Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs)November 13, 2020

    We are currently experiencing a perfect storm for estate planning – a historically high Federal gift tax exemption coupled with depressed values, largely attributable to the pandemic.  A married couple has the ability to transfer up to $23 million out of their estate with no gift tax payable.  This exemption is scheduled to be reduced by half in five years, or sooner, through new legislation.  While taking advantage of this significant estate planning opportunity is very appealing, many people are reluctant to part with this level of assets.  Fortunately, there is a vehicle which allows for assets to be transferred to a trust, removing them from the estate, while still allowing access if needed.

  • Three Anchin Professionals Named to Crain’s New York Business 2020 List of Notable Women in Accounting and ConsultingOctober 8, 2020

    Anchin is proud to recognize Lami Ajibesin, Mela Garber and Terry Pissi for being awarded inclusion on Crain’s Notable Women in Accounting and Consulting list for 2020. 

  • Wisdom from the Women of Anchin Private ClientMarch 18, 2020

    In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked some of the amazing women in Anchin Private Client to share their wisdom. We hope that you find this piece thought provoking and that it allows you to better get to know some of the powerhouses behind the practice.

  • How Marriage Influences Your TaxesFebruary 28, 2020

    This month, Anchin Private Client Tax Leader Mela Garber discussed tax and marriage with Yahoo! Finance. The segment provided insight into a variety of considerations. “The Center” sat down with Mela to help dive into the details.

  • What to Know About the Marriage Tax PenaltyFebruary 20, 2020

    Tax reform helped level the playing field, but married couples may still find themselves at a disadvantage at tax time. 

  • Family Financial Fitness Part 2April 30, 2019

     In instances when the family member who typically takes care of the finances falls ill and is unable to continue, a child may need to step in.

  • Family Financial FitnessMarch 20, 2019

    Sometimes a change in circumstances forces a change in responsibilities at a time when all parties are not necessarily ready. In instances when the family member who typically takes care of the finances falls ill and is unable to continue, a spouse or child may need to step in.

  • The Financial Considerations of Marrying Later in LifeFebruary 28, 2019

    While there are benefits to later-in-life marriages, there are also financial considerations to keep in mind, as each spouse is more likely to enter into the marriage with their own financial assets and responsibilities. As a lot of planning goes into the “big day”, there are a few details that should not be overlooked.

  • Changes Affecting Divorce in Light of the Tax Cuts and Jobs ActJune 28, 2018

    The new law applies to divorce or separation agreements executed after December 31, 2018, which means that divorcing spouses will have a good reason to finalize their divorce by the end of the year.

  • Requirements to Keep In Mind When Making Charitable ContributionsMarch 29, 2018

    There are certain rules that must be followed in order to document a donation of property to be able to receive a tax deduction.

  • Estate Planning for Blended FamiliesJanuary 31, 2018

    With an assortment of family members, individuals need to be diligent in maintaining updated documents to avoid or mitigate potential issues.

  • Legal Issues Facing Women in RetirementNovember 2, 2017

    Tax Principal Mela Garber shares her perspective on late-in-life financial management and what is necessary for women to have financial success.

  • Why Couples Should See a Financial Adviser Before They Get MarriedNovember 1, 2017

    Mela Garber, Leader of Anchin's Matrimonial Advisory Group, describes how older engaged couples with unequal means sort in advance how they will pay expenses in their marriage.

  • How to Protect Your Assets Without a PrenupOctober 14, 2017

    Mela Garber, Leader of Anchin's Matrimonial Advisory Group, shares how—and why—to keep your premarital funds safe.

  • 7 Little-Known Financial Benefits of DivorceSeptember 29, 2017

    Mela Garber, Leader of Anchin's Matrimonial Advisory Group, discusses the benefits of conservative investing, and home downsizing.

  • The Pitfalls of Keeping the HouseMay 30, 2017

    One of the most common questions during a divorce is “Who gets the house?” Though maintaining the ownership of the family home may be the desired result, there are potential financial burdens that should be considered before making this decision.

  • Gray Divorce: The Financial Challenges and OpportunitiesApril 20, 2017

    Mela Garber, Leader of Anchin's Matrimonial Advisory Group, explains why some older couples may separate and advises women who married young and may not have financial experience to work with a financial planner.

  • How to Prepare to Care for a Sick SpouseMarch 31, 2017

    At a time when people are at their most vulnerable, they are often expected to make some of the most difficult financial decisions. This is why putting a plan in place when all parties are healthy is so important.

  • How to Talk About a Prenuptial AgreementJune 1, 2016

    It’s hard to think of a good time to introduce a contractual component to unconditional love.

  • Family Financial Meetings Should Have a Place on Your CalendarApril 11, 2016

    Mela Garber, Trust and Estates Services Chair, explains how parents can avoid estate issues with a letter explaining any distribution inequalities to their children.

  • Why You May Need A PrenupApril 1, 2016

    If a prospective couple plans to sign a prenuptial agreement, it’s wise to design the agreement with an estate plan in mind.

  • 7 Toxic Money Habits You Need to Quit NowJanuary 6, 2016

    Mela Garber, tax expert at Anchin, advises how to break common bad money habits.

  • How Family Loans and Trusts Can Create Big WinsSeptember 26, 2015

    With interest rates at historic lows—for the time being—wealthy families are turbocharging their estate-planning strategies by pairing intrafamily loans with trusts.

  • 5 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes You Can MakeJuly 15, 2015

    Avoid these common estate planning mistakes.

  • Here Are the Worst Estate Planning Mistakes You Can MakeJuly 13, 2015

    Good luck to your loved ones when you die, because you’re going about your estate planning all wrong.

  • What we can learn about prenups from the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner divorceJuly 4, 2015

    Earlier this week, the world learned that beloved Hollywood couple Jennifer Garner, 43, and Ben Affleck, 42, have decided to split—ten years and one day after their wedding.

  • How to Set Up a Trust Without Costing Your Children a CentApril 17, 2015

    If personal finance was a teen movie, the trust would be the blonde, snotty rich kid who wins all the ski races and uses his flawless martial arts technique to sweep some working-class kid’s injured leg.

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