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I realize the author's subject line is the hook, but I disagree with it.

I think the wife's initial mistake was the big item, and all the smaller items just got amplified.
I imagine the deceased father-in-law's IRA could have been 5 or 6 (perhaps even 7) digits, and when
that item drew notice, it opened the door to all the other small items, which became slightly larger.

I did learn something from the article- Get the big dollar items reported correctly for taxes.
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