Billions of dollars go unclaimed by their rightful owners every year. This article will show you how to use and to safely determine whether you're owed money in a number of forms from a wide range of entities.

Organizations including states and federal agencies currently hold about $58 billion -- or about $186 per American citizen -- in assets that remain unclaimed, CNN reports, and it is fairly simple to determine whether any of that money is yours to collect.

The money may come from sources as varied as abandoned bank and stock accounts, unclaimed life insurance payouts and unclaimed pension benefits.

Two official, easy-to-use websites have been set up for the express purpose of helping you figure out if you could be owed money you may not even know exists.

The first is This website is an organized, state-by-state database that allows you to instantly be taken to your state government's homepage for unclaimed funds clearing.

And it could be very lucrative if you're one of thousands of Americans who are owed money or other assets, as the office of the New York state comptroller estimates that $12 billion in lost money is currently going unclaimed in the Empire State alone.

Unclaimed funds can come from such various sources as "banks, insurance companies, utilities, investment companies and many other businesses are required by state law to surrender inactive accounts to the state," according to the New York comptroller, and the same is true across the U.S.

To use, first click this link to be taken to the site's homepage, where you will see an interactive map of North America. Click on the state (or Canadian province) in which you currently reside and you will be taken to the unclaimed funds clearing site operated by that state's government. is an invaluable resource because you don't have to search to figure out where to claim funds, you simply click on a state and there you are: the official site for that state's unclaimed fund search.

Once you're taken to your state's unclaimed money page, you simply type your name and/or other identifying information, and you will instantly be told whether or not you have any money being held by the state until you come forward to claim it. If you do, specific instructions will be provided, describing how you can obtain your money.

And don't stop there. You should repeat this process for every state in which you have ever owned a residence or lived for any period of time, as well as any state where you may have held an account of any kind. The process is free and it takes very little time, and there could be money in it for you, so it's well worth the effort.

In fact, it can be a huge windfall, as last year a Missouri woman claimed $6.1 million in unclaimed funds, in what is believed to be the biggest property claim in American history.

After you've checked for any unclaimed money individual states may be holding as they wait for you to claim it, be sure to visit as well. Run by the federal government, is an online portal for determining if the U.S. government is holding onto any funds that are owed to you.

Begin by clicking this link to be taken to the homepage. When you arrive at the homepage, scroll to the bottom and click the "Start Here" button, which will take you to a page that asks for your Social Security Number/Employee Identification Number (it's a real federal government site, so you shouldn't be concerned about identity theft when submitting it here.)

Enter your digits, then hit "Search" to find out if you're owed any money that is being held by the U.S. government. And the chances that you are owed money are not that low, as apparently more than 25,000 payments are turned over to the Treasury Department each year as undeliverable, meaning that one of those payments may be yours to claim.

So good luck to you when checking both and to find out if you have any money you can claim. It's an easy, safe process run by the federal government and state governments, so you've got nothing left to lose, and perhaps a lot to gain.