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The problem here is that even though this is a small enough estate to be under the limit for a small estate affidavit, it includes an interest in real estate so that prevents the affidavit from being used.
So you would have to file a formal probate case in the probate court in the county where he lived in order for the executor nominated in the will to be formally appointed. The executor would then gather all assets, pay any debts, including reimbursing you for any funeral and burial related expenses, and then can distribute the remaining assets to the named beneficiaries of the will. The real estate would be transferred via a deed from the estate signed by the executor over to son if he was the beneficiary in care of you as his legal guardian until he turns 18.
It isn't very hard to handle a probate case without an attorney, but they can facilitate things and make them go much more smoothly. The court will normally have a guide that sets out the specific duties and timeframes for things to be done so it depends on whether the executor wants to tackle this job solo or with an attorney assisting..
You can download the forms, but you have to file them in person at the probate court because you have to swear or affirm that the information is true to the best of your knowledge. You also have to pay any filing fees and submit the will along with the petition..
This is a link to the CA Court Form site: CA Probate Forms
As for fees, they are capped by law and are 4% of the first $100K of gross value of the probated estate and go down after the first $100K in value.
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