NU Online News Service, Nov. 13, 2003, 11:33 a.m. EST – Only 54% of U.S. widows and widowers who lost young spouses in the last five years say their spouses had wills, according to results of a survey released by MetLife Inc., New York.

Researchers interviewed 1,000 widows and widowers for MetLife in August. The survey participants had lost spouses six months to five years before the survey. The husbands and wives who died were between the ages of 30 and 55 at the time of death.

Although 54% of the widowed spouses now have personal experience with the benefits of having a will in place, and 46% have seen the damage that not having a will can do, 48% of the survivors still have no will in place, MetLife says.

The MetLife survey results echo results of another recent survey, sponsored by AARP, Washington, that found that only 59% of U.S. residents over age 44 have wills.

MetLife is recommending that employers consider using the kind of group legal plan offered by its own Hyatt Legal Plans unit to help employees with tasks such as drawing up wills.