Monthly Archives: April 2014

It’s Get-Rid-Of-Drugs Day!

imagesToday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which aims to provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs–you know, like the ones in the bathroom cabinet and on the bedroom nightstand. These can be devilishly hard to get rid of properly. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs–even if unopened–can’t be returned or donated in most states. And the absolute worst thing you can do is flush them down the toilet or sink, which lets them into the water supply where they aren’t filtered out. 

So, you’ve inherited a whole bunch of medicines–what next? Find a location near you that will take them back and destroy them responsibly by visiting or call 1-800-882-9539. If you miss today’s event, don’t despair. Many of these sites take back drugs all year round, and besides, the DEA sponsors this event every six months. 

Rush Job

You’ve inherited a house full of Stuff. It’s far away. Your job can’t spare you for long and you’re looking after your elderly mother-in-law. What to do?

Smith_Antiques_Sav_014-reducedUse an estate appraiser and auction off the bulk of the estate. Contact at least two estate appraisers (or estate liquidators or auctioneers) and have them come to the house to look over the estate and give you a quote on their services. These people can do a turnkey operation for you if you want it, although of course, you will pay for these services out of whatever proceeds result from the sale of the Stuff. They can pack, mail, or ship any items you want to keep, specifically those mentioned in the will. They can pick out the more valuable furnishings and take them away for sale at their next scheduled auction. Unless they have a special license, they may not be able to sell liquor and guns, but they will know who to contact for these. They can sort through the remainder, hauling the stacks of newspapers to the recycling center and the rolls of rusty chicken wire to the dump. They can sell boxes of kitchen tools and old books for a couple bucks or take them to Goodwill if you tell them that’s what you prefer. Or they can offer you a flat price, say $15,000 for the entire contents of the house, and what they auction off or throw out is left up to them. (And if you decide to contract with a nonprofit like Goodwill to dispose of the contents, you can use that quote of $15,000 as the credible value of the contents when you declare the donation on your income tax return.)

This option is the least desirable in terms of money for the heirs, but it may be the most desirable for heirs who are too old, too ill, too far away, or too busy to handle any of the work themselves.

Did someone collect sports memorabilia, and now you’ve inherited it?

baseball_02What does “sports memorabilia” mean? Baseball cards, baseballs, basketballs, helmets, jerseys, photographs, newspaper clippings, bobbleheards, tickets, golf balls, mugs, caps, medals, pennants, any piece of equipment (baseballs, gloves, tickets, programs) that have been signed–you name it. If it relates to a sport, it may have value.

baseball_03Serious collectors of sports memorabilia don’t buy anything unless it’s been authenticated—the market is flooded with fakes—so if you’ve inherited a baseball signed by Babe Ruth (probably not!), you’ll need to have it vetted by a credible service that does not buy or sell. Get recommendations through a reputable large auction house.

Sports cards of all sorts are easily sold online because they can be dropped in an envelope and mailed for the price of a stamp. E-bay is probably your best bet for this and other sports-related items that are not authenticated. If the item was collected by someone who authenticated them, or you choose to authenticate them, then they are probably best sold through regional auction houses.