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I will say that if everything passes outside of probate, then there's nothing left in the estate to pay for things like estate taxes, final expenses, or remaining debts, and that can cause all sorts of headaches.

Not in my state.
The estate must go through an inventory and reconciliation before any assets can be distributed. TOD, POD and direct beneficiary are all held up until the process is complete. All liabilities must be identified and satisfied. This process takes at least 4 months. I have seen it take over 2 years when the deceased had a home that appeared to be "underwater" on the mortgage. Only then do the remaining assets go to probate.
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