If your friend's estate was worth more than $100,000 then you will need to probate it. You will need to file a Petition for Probate in the county where he died, send notice to everyone named in the will and also to his daughter. The Court will need to appoint you as the executor of his estate (his will merely "nominates" you; only a Judge can appoint you). You will then be subject to all of the regular California probate rules (4 month wait, duty to notify creditors, etc.).
It's possible that you could be appointed as the "special administrator" of your friend's estate if you need access to his money immediately to pay for his funeral. But if you've already paid for it and just want reimbursement, the Court probably won't appoint you as special administrator.
So I suggest that you begin a probate proceeding immediately. You'll need to pay the $395 court filing fee and the cost of publishing the required notice in a newspaper ($100 to $400 depending on the newspaper you're required to use).... but you should NOT pay any lawyer's fees until the Court orders you to pay them.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
In most cases, if there is no beneficiary on the account or POD, you would need to at least file some document to allow the property to be transferred to you. You should check with a California lawyer as to whether you would have to petition for probate or there is a small estate procedure if the total estate is less than a certain amount per the statute.
It sounds like you will need to file a probate on your friend's estate, since it is worth over $100,000.00. You can file the papers yourself, but I highly recommend getting an attorney involved, since the court rules and procedures are rather difficult to understand unless you work in this area on a regular basis; and you must follow the court procedures. After the probate hearing, when the executor has their "Letters" , then you can file a creditor's claim to be reimbursed for the funeral expenses you have paid. Until then, the bank account will most likely be frozen.
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With an estate exceeding $100,000 in CA a probate is required to transfer assets of the estate. Contact an attorney and open a probate on the estate.
Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.