SA Woman Award Emerging Business

Fiona Shilton has been awarded the SA Woman Emerging Business Woman award in recognition for her work changing the conversation around death, wills, and estate planning and creating a legal practice that focuses on kindness, care, and bravery.

SA Woman Awards 2022 Ceremony

"We can only live our lives as fully as possible even if it is based on a mistake."

When Jill Lathlean died in 1985 someone awesome added this epitaph to her grave marker.

I don’t know Jill Lathlean but from the moment I accidentally discovered her final resting place in a forgotten corner of Norton Summit cemetery I’ve really wanted to sit down and have a cuppa with her…

What was the mistake? Was it really so big it warranted a death bed up-yours? Did you leave instructions in your will to have this message placed on your grave? What is a mistake anyway? Surely it’s just a “take” that didn’t quite go as expected…

Then I’d go on to tell her a bunch of things about me. Because this conversation would pretty much go like the hundreds of estate planning chats I’ve had over the past 2 years – a bit about you, a bit about me, and some answers in the middle.

I’d let her in on the secret that Your Estate Lawyer came about as the product of a mistake. The mistake of spending over a decade of my life thinking that I was cut out for dispute-focused law and believing that empathy, care, and vulnerability weren’t welcome in lawyering (I was wrong).

I’d tell her that when I was asked to leave my “real lawyer job”, instead of driving into a tree, overwhelmed with the shit-show my life had become I decided to be brave and do something I’d never even considered an option...

I started a business.

I’d probably admit that whilst I’ve helped other people make brave decisions, it’s taken until now to realise that being brave has helped me live life more fully than I ever thought possible.

I’m pretty sure Jill would think the SA Women I have had the pleasure of meeting over the past two years and their willingness to support, share, empower and marinate me in their awesomeness has been as invaluable as I do.

I don’t know Jill Lathlean, but I want to tell her she’s right; we can only live our lives as fully as possible even if it is based on a mistake.

Thanks to SA Woman I have ‘emerged’ from my mistake and am facing a future where I keep changing the conversation

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