Contingent Asset

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DEFINITION of 'Contingent Asset'

An asset in which the possibility of an economic benefit depends solely upon future events that can't be controlled by the company. Due to the uncertainty of the future events, these assets are not placed on the balance sheet. However, they can be found in the company's financial statement notes.

BREAKING DOWN 'Contingent Asset'

These assets, which are often simply rights to a future potential claim, are based on past events. An example might be a potential settlement from a lawsuit. The company does not have enough certainty to place the settlement value on the balance sheet, so it can only talk about the potential in the notes. This improves the accuracy of financial statements and removes potential abuses.

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