Your best friend needs to contact a probate attorney in the same CA county where grandfather passed away.
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
You should be able to look on the public records to see if the will has been filed and a probate
You can also check the public records to see if the deed of the ranch was transferred to a trust.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
Where was grandad domiciled? This and where his estate is being managed will matter a great deal in terms of options. For example, in some states probate is all but mandatory and there may be proceedings already filed, while in other states, like here in Oregon, probate is only done if someone seeks it and takes the matter to court. In other words, your options and first steps will depend a great deal on the specifics of the case. Call a local probate attorney for advice. If you don't know of any, feel free to contact me and I'll point you in the right direction.