Foundations in Germany are institutions that pursue a purpose determined by the founder with a certain amount of assets and earnings.
The organisation of the foundation and its articles of association are the most important components of the foundation. They should be legally secure and concrete at the time of establishment. This enables the founder’s will to be successfully implemented.
The foundation’s purpose is of particular importance for the foundation’s general activity, establishment requirements and organisation. This purpose is permanent and is laid down in the foundation transaction and the foundation statutes.
Founders can be private individuals, companies, churches, religious groups and the state. The legal form of foundations varies.
They can be structured as legal entities, i.e. foundations with legal capacity under civil or public law.
The establishment and organisation of foundations with legal capacity under civil law are regulated in §§ 80 ff. German Civil Code (BGB). These can participate in other legal entities, e.g. limited partnerships.
The public-law foundations are public-law corporations established by the organisation laws of the state. They are not subject to §§ 80 ff. BGB.
Furthermore, foundations can be established under the sponsorship of a trustee, i.e., non-legal, dependent, fiduciary or fiduciary foundations. A contract between the founder and the trustee sets them.
Unlike charitable foundations with legal capacity under civil law, (fiduciary) foundations without legal capacity are not subject to official foundation supervision by the state foundation supervisory authority and the financial authority.