If those bank accounts total less than $100,000, then you will not need to open a probate to settle those accounts.
California has a small estate administration procedure which will allow you to settle those accounts. You will need a certified copy of his death certificate, and you will need to execute an affidavit under California Probate Code Sec. 13100 with the death certificate attached to it. The affidavit must be notarized; and you cannot present the affidavit to the bank until 40 days have passed since the date of your brother's passing away.
Many banks have a form of the Probate Code Sec. 13100 that they will provide to you; inquire with the bank to find out if they have such a form.
I agree with Attorney Tompkins. I did want to add that you should also check with the bank to see if your deceased brother named a beneficiary on these accounts. If so, these accounts are paid on death accounts. With a POD account, distributions are made outside of the trust or Probate. Ordinarily, the bank usually requires that you provide them with a death certificate. The funds will be distributed directly to those named beneficiary.
If a Probate is necessary, you would deposit the will with the Probate court.
Disclaimer: The above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. My responses are intended to provide general information about the question posted. I am licensed to practice in the state of California.
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