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"lawyer in town told me that because it was an "income in respect to a decedent" that i didn't owe any tax? would the IRS really let this happen "

The lawyer is wrong. You will have to report this as interest income. Income in respect of decedent is reported by you just like you earned the interest. Whether it taxable depends on what is happenning on your tax return.

You may want to check on treating the bonds as if they were cashed in the deceases final return. That way you only report the interest earned after the date of death.
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