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When A Spouse Dies

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Life insurance has a clear, concrete effect on the quality of life of widows and widowers who receive benefits.

Analysts at a unit of MetLife Inc., New York, have published data supporting that finding in a summary of results from a recent survey of 1,000 widows and widowers of spouses who had died between the ages of 25 and 60.

Only about a quarter of the widowed life beneficiaries said they felt as if the amount of life insurance proceeds they had received had fully met their needs.

But just 25% of the life benefits recipients said they had to borrow money from friends and relatives, compared with 42% of those who had received no life benefits, and just 23% of the survivors who had received benefits reported having to move out of their homes, compared with 36% of the recipients who had received no life benefits.

About 53% of the widowed life benefits recipients who received benefits with a value equal to at least 300% of their usual household income said they felt financially secure during the year following the death of the spouse.

When widowers and widowers who had received no life benefits were asked about the first year after the death of the spouse, just 11% said they had felt financially secure.