Useful life definition including break down of areas in the definition. Analyzing the definition of key term often provides more insight about concepts. useful life can be defined as: Length of time an asset will be productively used in the operations of a business; also called useful life or limited life. useful life generally refers to the useful life of property plant and equipment or fixed assets, these assets having a relatively ling useful life. useful life is used when calculating deprecation in order to allocate the cost of assets over the useful life.