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Is it possible to sign a contract that will only be valid only if another contract is signed and/or only if a specific event happens in the future?

If yes, what is the proper legal language to state that?

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Is it possible to sign a contract that will only be valid only if another contract is signed and/or only if a specific event happens in the future?

Yes.

However, you need to be clear about what you intend. Do you mean that the contract comes into existence if and when the event occurs or that there is a contract that only creates rights and obligations if and when the event occurs? If the former, then either party can withdraw from the agreement before the event happens because there is no contract yet; if the latter they cannot do so.

You also need to be sure that the fundamental requirements for a contract have been met; see What is a contract and what is required for them to be valid? Of particular note in the circumstances you are contemplating is that there be consideration on both sides.

For example, consider a contract where you are selling your house and I make an offer "subject to bank finance". You can accept that offer but we do not have a contract unless and until my bank loan is approved; until that happens I can withdraw my offer and you can sell your house to someone else.

However, if I make an offer of "$1 million if I get bank finance by 31 May 2016 otherwise I will pay you $1 and you can sell to someone else" and you accept then we have a binding contract until 31 May 2016.

If yes, what is the proper legal language to state that?

There are a number of terms like "contingent" and "conditional offer" that lawyers use but if you don't understand what they mean, don't use them! Say what you mean as clearly and concisely as possible; an series of "if ... then ... otherwise ..." statements is a good place to start.

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