Mallory's Story

Hi there! My name is Mallory McGrath and I am the Founder & CEO of Viive Planning. Thank you so much for visiting our website and checking out the Viive POV, our blog all about the intricate, intimate, and ever-important world of Aging & End of Life Planning.

When you visit our website, and specifically our blog, I want you to remember that this is a place where you should feel safe. This is a place where I want you to feel like you can express all of your thoughts, wishes, and desires. This is the place where we work collaboratively as a team. That means you, your family and loved ones, and the Viive team, as well as any service providers you already work with — as well as (potentially) some of our own Trusted Partners who can support the planning process.

What is Aging & End of Life Planning?

Here at Viive, our focus is on helping our clients (and their families) prepare holistically for the future. What we do goes far beyond traditional approaches to Estate Planning, which is mostly concerned with making sure that you have your assets all squared away before your passing. While that’s a hugely important piece of the puzzle, it’s ultimately just that: only one piece.

This is not a company that will just tell you to get your Will and POAs in order and send you on your way. Instead, we are focused on making sure you feel confident and secure when you think about heading into this final season of life.

That means empowering you and your family to have difficult (but oh-so-vital) conversations about money, aging, and death. It means asking you key questions about your values and your wishes — questions many people don’t think to consider while they’re still young and healthy.

More than anything, it means being by your side throughout the entire planning process, from the moment we first sit down all the way through to implementing and updating your plan.

Our mission: To change how our culture sees death

Let’s not sugarcoat it: Aging and End of Life are scary things to talk about. It’s only human to shy away from these topics.

That being said, here in North America, we’re especially bad at having these conversations. Our culture is highly death avoidant: talking about getting old and dying makes us feel uncomfortable, and we strive to avoid that discomfort at all costs. We discourage each other from talking about these taboo topics. We use euphemisms to dance around what we’re really saying. And we call it “morbid” when people talk frankly about their or other people’s mortality.

As a result, very few of us know how to broach these “heavy” discussions with our families. Many of us are too overwhelmed to think about them at all. That leaves us unprepared — financially, emotionally, and logistically — to face the realities of Aging & End of Life.

But here’s the thing: Every single one of us is going to die someday. What a lot of people don’t realize is that we are blessed to have so much autonomy with regard to our own deaths. If we’re really lucky, we even get to choose the place and manner in which we die — an absolute first in human history.

Maybe you don’t know what you want from your Aging & End of Life process, and you don’t even know where to start. Maybe you do have a pretty clear idea of what it is that you want, but you’re not sure how to express it to your loved ones.

I created Viive Planning to help clients answer important questions about their life, death, and legacy, and to help them communicate those wishes with their families. In doing so — and by writing about my work, on the Viive POV Blog and elsewhere — I hope to educate our Canadian society on the need for holistic, collaborative, and well-rounded Aging & End of Life Planning.

How Viive came to be

A lot of people ask me why, as a woman in my thirties, I’ve found myself in this industry — one that’s mainly associated with older adults. To answer that question, let me start by identifying all the things that I’m not.

I’m not a lawyer. I’m not an accountant. I’m not a financial advisor. I’m not a funeral director. I’m not a member of any traditional profession that is associated with Aging & End of Life Planning.

I come from a varied background, and have worn many different hats, all of which have led me to the path I’m currently on now. I was raised by music teachers in the small town of Port Perry, Ontario, and I’ve been singing and performing my whole life. I received my Bachelor of Music from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, majoring in Voice Performance.

From there, I tried my hand at being a professional singer. Yet I constantly found myself distracted by my drive to plan and host philanthropic events. I hosted fundraisers, concerts, whatever I could do to advocate for organizations I felt passionate about.

A few years later, I met a lawyer while I was performing in a community theatre play. He ended up hiring me to be his litigation law clerk, and I spent most of the last decade working for him, with a focus on estate litigation.

Working that job, I saw just how destructive estate litigation can be to families. As I like to say, grief and greed are a dangerous cocktail of emotions. I saw how this deadly combination can amplify discord and fuel bitter conflict. Yes, the people we saw were technically fighting each other over money, but it was never really the money that was important: families feuded over $10,000 in the same way they would feud over $1 million. What they were really fighting about was old wounds and resentment, unhealthy family dynamics, and unresolved emotions.

The art of planning

As a singer and performer, I developed a keen understanding of my emotions and those of others. (After all, it was my job to evoke emotions in my audience members.) At Viive, I’m using that emotional intelligence to better support my clients.

When we’re working together, I’ll do everything I can to create a space where you and your family can speak honestly, without judgment, about your hopes and fears. I’ll help you tap into the feelings you’re trying to articulate. And I’ll help you create the perfect plan to navigate any scenario that may come your way.

My approach to Aging & End of Life Planning is also heavily informed by my own experience with chronic illness and pain. I have 3 autoimmune diseases and I am watching and feeling my body age faster than it should. On top of that, I experience chronic pain going back to a couple of old injuries, as well as an assault I suffered on my way to an audition years ago.

My lived experience with these things, while very difficult, has really deepened my empathy for the aging process. It also gives me a true and honest understanding of what it’s like to sit down and think about your own Aging and End of Life process.

Most of what I’m helping my clients through, I’ve experienced in some ways myself. So while it’s true that I am younger than many of my clients, that does not limit me in my ability to empathize and support them.

Leave the legacy you want

Estate litigation is on the rise. I’ve seen firsthand how estate-related conflicts are destroying more families with each passing year. And with the Baby Boomers continuing to age, we’re coming up on the largest wealth transfer our country has ever seen. So much of that wealth will be needlessly lost to estate litigation.

Starting Viive was my way of trying to interrupt this cycle. We all want to be valued for who we are and what we believe in. We all want the freedom and support to express our wishes and desires for our lives. And we all want to leave behind a legacy that represents who we truly were when we were still alive. What we don’t want is for our memory to be clouded and tarnished by lengthy court battles and bitter blood feuds.

Somewhere, in this 20th-century world we live in, with all the technology and a fast-paced lifestyle, we have forgotten about compassion and empathy — 2 of Viive’s core values. Anything and everything that a client tells me has value and deserves to be met with compassion, empathy, and understanding.

I want to work with you and your family, as a team. As the old adage goes, it takes a village. Most associate this phrase with raising children, but I associate it with all of life. It takes a village of loved ones, friends, family, industry professionals, and more to help you create and enjoy the life you deserve to have. In our work together, we will make sure that you have the perfect team to support you, including your existing service providers and any Trusted Partners we think could play a valuable role.

If any of this sounds like a fit for you, book a free consultation with me to discuss how we might work together. I hope that I have the opportunity to work with you and your family, and to support you in making this season of your life as peaceful and fulfilling as possible.

Mallory's Credentials

Certificate of Thanatology - Centennial College

Mediation Training - Riverdale Mediation Ltd.

Certified Executor Advisor (CEA) - Canadian Institute of Certified Executor Advisors (CICEA)

Bachelor of Music, Voice Performance - McGill University

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