DEFINITION of 'Fully Depreciated Asset'
A property, plant, or piece of equipment which, for accounting purposes, is worth only its salvage value. Whenever an asset is capitalized, its cost is depreciated over several years according to a depreciation schedule. Theoretically, this provides a more accurate estimate of the true expenses of maintaining the company's operations each year.
BREAKING DOWN 'Fully Depreciated Asset'
In reality, it is difficult to predict the useful life of an asset, so depreciation expenses represents only a rough estimate of the true amount of an asset used up each year. Conservative accounting practices dictate that, when in doubt, it is more prudent to use a faster depreciation schedule so that expenses are recognized earlier. In that way, if the asset does not live out the expected life, the company does not incur an unexpected accounting loss. Due to these factors, it is not unusual for a fully depreciated asset to still be in good working order and producing value for the firm.