Effect of incorporation

Once an association becomes incorporated it acquires a new legal status – it becomes a legal entity in its own right, separate from the individual members.  It usually has the following characteristics:

  • the association becomes a body corporate with perpetual succession (it may exist forever in its own right, even as the members of the association change);
  • the name of the association is the name stated on the certificate of incorporation and must end with the word 'Incorporated' or 'Inc';
  • members or officers of the association are generally not liable to contribute towards the payment of debts or liabilities of the association;
  • all rights and liabilities that were held by members or officers in their personal capacity in relation to the running of the activity now become the rights and liabilities of, and against the incorporated association.  However this does not relieve any person from liabilities incurred by or on behalf of the association prior to incorporation; and
  • the association may sue or be sued in its own corporate name.