If you think about the Full Tilt case, then the non-US players already play real money games on Full Tilt Poker and are able to deposit or cash out at their own will. In the US it's more problematic, though. But I am not from the US and I cannot give you more info.
As far as I can see, you're concerned about the safety of your bankroll on online poker rooms. Fair enough, if you ask me. My answer is basically the same as GazWinter's: it's pretty safe. Full Tilt is now a part of PokerStars, the leading brand in online poker. They have a solid reputation, lots of traffic and there is no real reason for them to go busto in the near future.
About the smaller sites, there is a higher chance of them disappearing or, more likely, being bought by other bigger sites and/or networks. Dracula Poker, a Romanian online poker room, was bought by Titan Poker and now the both player pools are merged and play very well and in safety. bwin and Party Poker merged and now bwin is named bwin.party and so on. NoiQ Poker merged with 24h Poker and everything goes great.
But there are also sites that, even if they run their business legit, they folded. RPM poker and Poker Nordica are two of the examples that come into my mind. As far as I know, the players that played there got their bankrolls back in full, so nobody was dissatisfied.
So, are your money safe? My answer is they are as safe as they are in banks. Sure, a bank might be rock solid now, but it might go bankrupt in 5 years time or who knows what dirty tricks is the CEO up to and everybody will suffer. Money aren't 100% safe nowhere, but I'd say that on Stars they are 99.9999% safe (*), which is fine for me.
(*) - The number is an approximation and I cannot say anything about the safety of the lower tier rooms.
I hope it helped you!