De acordo com o Effective Java de Joshua Bloch (Segunda Edição), existem dois cenários em que
finalize() é útil:
One is to act as a “safety net” in case the owner of an object forgets to call its explicit termination method. While there’s no guarantee that the finalizer will be invoked promptly, it may be better to free the resource late than never, in those (hopefully rare) cases when the client fails to call the explicit termination method. But the finalizer should log a warning if it finds that the resource has not been terminated
A second legitimate use of finalizers concerns objects with native peers. A native peer is a native object to which a normal object delegates via native methods. Because a native peer is not a normal object, the garbage collector doesn’t know about it and can’t reclaim it when its Java peer is reclaimed. A finalizer is an appropriate vehicle for performing this task, assuming the native peer holds no critical resources. If the native peer holds resources that must be terminated promptly, the class should have an explicit termination method, as described above. The termination method should do whatever is required to free the critical resource.
Para mais informações, consulte o item 7, página 27.