Disclaimer: the materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor should any attorney-client relationship be implied from these materials.
How long ago did this lawyer pass away? Have you tried contacting the deceased lawyer's office? If this lawyer was a part of a lawfirm, or if another lawyer has taken over his practice, you can contact the current lawyers and request copies of your documents. Otherwise, you will need to locate the lawyer's estate representative or his heirs to see if any records exist.
When a lawyer passes away in California, the State Bar of California has specific notification procedures and rules and regulations. You may contact the State Bar of California and advise them of your situation. You may also contact or go online to the Ventura County Superior Court (presuming the Attorney passed in Ventura County) and type in the name to determine if a probate has been filed. If it has, you will need to contact the estate representative or his/her attorney. They will be able to get the files to you.