Yet beyond those immediate needs for comfort or a glass of water, as parents we have other, more important reasons to lose sleep over our children. "What if something were to happen to me tomorrow?" you think. "Who would take care of the kids? How would I provide for them?"
We work hard and make sacrifices to build a good life for our children but many parents fail to plan for the effect their own death or incapacity would have on their child. In fact, most parents of young children have probably put more thought into the purchase of their child's carseat than into planning for their own death or incapacity. Certainly carseats are important and protect our children from risk. But it's also important to prepare our children for the risk of losing their parents.
It's easy to think of estate planning as something to do in one's retirement years between rounds of golf and trips to Luby's, not in your younger years while tripping over Legos and climbing over baby gates. But estate plans are especially important for parents of minor children because for you, it's not just about your stuff, it's about your kids.
Your estate plan can direct how your assets are to be distributed for your child's benefit and nominate someone to serve as the child's guardian if both parents are deceased. You may designate that property be distributed to a trust on your child's behalf rather than pass to the child outright if s/he is below a certain age and you may allow for limited distributions before the child reaches that age.
For example, you may provide that if your child is under age 25 at your death, assets are to be held in trust on his behalf by a friend or family member whom you appoint as trustee. You may give that trustee discretion to distribute trust funds before age 25 for education, living expenses, and related items. Most importantly, you can designate a trusted friend or family member to serve as guardian of your child and make care decisions on the child's behalf until s/he reaches adulthood. Stating your wishes clearly can reduce the likelihood of family strife as your loved ones can be sure they are honoring your wishes.
When you have an estate plan in place that provides for your children's care and support, you have the peace of mind of knowing that whatever tomorrow brings, your family is provided for. Your estate plan won't get up and grab the lovey your baby threw out of her crib or get your son that glass of water he's calling for, but it ensures that their financial needs will be met and they'll be in loving care should something happen to you. And that peace of mind can help you sleep better.
(As for those other child sleep issues? Good luck, and remember this too shall pass! ;))