The association acquires legal capacity when it is entered in the register of associations. It can, for example, conclude contracts, be entered in the land register as the owner or employ staff. Only the (legally capable) association itself is entitled and obligated from such legal transactions, not its members. Only the association's assets are liable for debts and other liabilities. Legal capacity is an important advantage for the association, for example with regard to liability law.
Certain transactions and facts relating to the association are recorded in the register of associations. In particular, the name and registered office of the association, its board of directors, the date on which the articles of association were drawn up, any special regulations governing the representation of the association and the dissolution of the association must be entered. In addition, all amendments to the articles of association and the board of directors must be entered in the register.
By being entered in the register, the association subjects itself to limited public scrutiny. This is the price for the legal capacity that comes with registration. However, the court can and may review entries only within narrow limits. For example, the registry court is only required to review provisions of the articles of association for their compatibility with mandatory legal provisions, but not for their expediency.
One of the main tasks of the register is to make the facts and legal circumstances of the association that are important for legal transactions accessible to outsiders, thereby increasing the security of legal transactions. For this reason, circumstances that are significant for the association's legal relations with third parties, such as the executive board and details of its power of representation, are to be entered in the register. A third party may invoke against the association that a board of directors entered in the register is still in office and has therefore acted with legal effect on behalf of the association, unless the third party was aware of the change. Changes to the executive board should therefore always be reported to the register of associations as soon as possible.
More detailed information on associations with legal capacity can be found in the brochures "Der eingetragene Verein" and "Vereinsrecht - Rund um den eingetragenen Verein (e. V.)", which can be downloaded free of charge from the Bavarian state government's administration portal (see "Further links").